Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Blue Horse

There are these things that happen around here...

Yes, that's Zorg riding the Blue Horse with nunchucks.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Poem of the Week: The Herefordshire Landscape

The Herefordshire Landscape
from: Aurora Leigh

I dared to rest, or wander, - like a rest
Made sweeter for the step upon the grass, -
And view the ground's most gentle dimplement,
(As if God's finger touched but did not press
In making England!) such an up and down
Of verdure, - nothing too much up or down
A ripple of land; such little hills, the sky
Can stoop to tenderly and the wheatfields climb;
Such nooks of valleys, lined with orchises,
Fed full of noises by invisible streams;
And open pastures, where you scarcely tell
White daisies from white dew, - at intervals
The mythic oaks and elm-trees standing out
Self-poised upon their prodigy of shade, -
I thought my father's land was worthy too
Of being my Shakespeare's...
Then the thrushes sang,
And shook my pulses and the elms' new leaves...
I flattered all the beauteous country round,
As poets use; the skies, the clouds, the fields, The happy violets hiding from the roads
The primroses run down to, carrying gold, -
The tangled hedgerows, where the cows push out
Impatient horns and tolerant churning mouths
'Twixt dripping ash-boughs, - hedgerows all alive
With birds and gnats and large white butterflies
Which look as if the May-flower had caught life
And palpitated forth upon the wind, -
Hills, vales, woods, netted in a silver mist,
Farm, granges, doubled up among the hills,
And cattle grazing in the watered vales,
And cottage-chimneys smoking from the woods,
And cottage-gardens smelling everywhere,
Confused with smell of orchards.


HT: The Independant 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Our Steampunk Wall

 We finished decorating the living room, which, I believe, finally concludes the house reorganization brought on by refinishing the floors!

We were looking for this wall to look a bit more deliberate, and then we found this geared clock.

And then we remembered that we had my dear MIL's geared cat....

And things kind of got out of hand from there!

But I really like the way it came out.

One nice side effect has been printing and framing all the pictures of our ancestors from about 100 years ago.

The oval one is a bit hard to see, but it's my great grandmother as a young woman.  She was in her 80s and 90s when I got to know her, but she was such a lovely and loving person, it makes me happy every time I see her!

First Day of No School

For our First Day of No School, we went playground hopping!

And swimming!

And working on personal projects like this Bionicle armor Leena made!

And I've been working on plans for our Big Trip, Awesome History, and Chemistry!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016


 I've always liked licorice allsorts, but it took me a while to realize that they were called that because they were "all sorts" of licorice.

As we finish our summer, we've been doing "allsorts" of things!

We made some really delicious ice cream.  I guess it was actually frozen yogurt, but it was lemon and cherry flavored with mini chocolate chips.

Mmmmmmm.  Maybe it was many chocolate chips!

We also have been making popsicles.  Our current favorite is nutella pops!  It's just nutella mixed with cool whip and milk and frozen, but it tastes exactly like it sounds!!

Continuing the yummy treats theme, Klenda whipped up two fabulous chocolate souffles for the feast of the Assumption!  They were also exactly as delicious as that sounds!

We also did a big water balloon fight (which I wish I had thought to get in pictures).
 We've been doing a lot of bird watching.  This is the time of year when lots of juvenile birds are out and about, and they are delightful and hilarious to watch!

We had a pair of juvenile cardinals,  some young grackles, and about three dozen sparrows mobbing our feeder.  A jay swooped in and everyone scattered except a juvenile sparrow who hopped at the jay and startled him off!

The picture is a red tailed hawk who hung out outside our dining room window.

The most fun has been the five hummingbirds at our feeders.  These tiny birds are very territorial, and one female is convinced she owns all three feeders.  She chases and chases, and the others swoop in to steal a sip while she is off chasing someone else!

I've been getting ready for my Chemistry class!

We've been doing a bit of redecorating.

Oob and Choclo fell in love with this fuzzy rug, and when asked where we should put it, they wanted it in the basement to lie on while they read comic books...

Mostly we've been working on giving the living room a steampunk theme.

We're not done yet (more pictures later) but it's coming along!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Poem of the Week: A Time to Talk

A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Poem of the Week: Ulysses

By Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

HT and the rest of the poem at Poetry Foundation

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Visit to NJ

I had a lovely visit with my folks this past week.

I took up the new car, and took my dad out for a ride.  It's such a beautiful time of year in northwest New Jersey!

 The sunflowers were blooming in the farm up the street, so that was our first stop.

Then, since we were out anyway, we decided to go down by Paulinskill lake to see if the purple loosestrife was blooming.

 It was!

This is an invasive plant here because it has no natural predators (it's a garden escapee originally from Europe). 

It really does cover acres and acres of boggy land, and I'm sure it's crowding the native species, but the bees love it!

And when we came back, Dad looked over the car, topping off fluids, vacuuming the interior, and giving it a good wash into the bargain- the car did not look this good when we bought it!!

Then I helped my mom with rearranging her office.
Mostly this involved sorting out computer cords and trying to reconnect everything correctly.

Happy Mumpy!
I considered calling Bill, my favorite network engineer, but, for the life of me, I couldn't come up with a question beyond, "Where do all these cords go?" That hardly seemed a fair question to ask over the phone!

 In a minor miracle, we figured it out and everything works!

Last, but not least, I got to play Mumpy a few hands of Pig's Knuckles, and, if you can believe it, I skunked her twice!

I won her paper towel holder!

My sister thinks Mumpy might have stacked the deck, but it was Mumpy's special paper towel holder, so that hardly seems likely, now does it?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Seven Quick Takes: Summer Daze

1.  The thing about summer is... I always think it will be mostly like this (lounging about at my friend's pool) and it always turns out to be mostly like cleaning up the back basement. And going on vacation! 

I'm super happy about the going on vacation and honestly glad we cleaned out the back basement, but I am planning a solid day of doing nothing as soon as the Emperor goes back to school!

 2. Oob and I went off on a rambling adventure, looking for some red mushrooms he had seen a while back.

Those were gone, but we found some mushrooms growing in our own yard, and eventually, we called everyone else over to see!

I'm pretty sure I'm the only home owner on the block who hopes to get mushrooms in their yard.

3. Another summer project has been touching up  a large nativity scene.  I recently finished the larger pieces (and stored them in the newly organized basement!), and I decided to have each Zoomlian work on one sheep.

My theory is that if all the Zoomlians ever grow up and move out, every Christmas I'll have a sheep from each of them.

The touch up is not too hard since the sheep started out with a really nice paint job.
Although some of their eyes give them a bit of a crazed look. Curiously,  I think this was the look some of my neighbors gave me when I was working on the whole nativity outside in August.

4. Speaking of neighbors, we have a very dear couple of neighbors! 
The gentleman loves to fish- and I mean in a boat on the ocean or bay fishing- and his wife does not like to eat fish.

His solution is to give us (and others) loads of fresh caught rockfish! Truly the best fish I've ever had!

This time he had leftover crabs.  This is a regional delicacy, and I think it's mandatory for Marylanders to love Chesapeake Blue Crabs. We sure do, but usually it's out of our price range!

Which means we hadn't had them in a few years... and Choclo and Oob hadn't really done crabs... I had forgotten how intimidating they are!

But we helped out and everyone got to enjoy crabs!

5. While the older people have been working on projects, Choclo and Oob have been left to their own devices. They always have devices.

I found this on one wall.  It says "Join the Cody Club today!  Awesome outdoor activities, cool coloring stuff and more!"

In another area of the house I found this. 
"This Cody Club game demo should get your attention... MR FILL!  How to play: Fill in the blank spots!  Your pencil is above this sign."

Pretty fun! Mine is the one in the upper right.

6. Leena and I  did the flowers for our parish this weekend!

The flower thing is very fun, but it also is a reminder to me: the only reason we do flowers is that someone asked us one day if we would like to give it a try.

As it turned out, we loved it! 

It's also a direct way for Leena to offer her beautiful creative gifts to God!

The whole experience has made me want to look for other people who have gifts, but are waiting for someone to ask them.

7. This is Oob with his "Summer Drink." 

A Summer Drink has 4 parts:
1. It must have ice.
2. It should have a straw, preferably a bendy straw in a tropical color.
3. It needs a little paper umbrella (you can make one with paper and a toothpick).
4. There ought to be some kind of drink.

And this is Choclo with his look alike sandwich.

Have a great weekend!

More Quick Takes fun with Kelly!